Pence says after the 2020 election, Trump replaced his 'capable' attorneys with a 'gaggle of lawyers who brought in conspiracy theories'

  • Trump dismissed his "capable" lawyers after the 2020 election in favor of attorneys pushing conspiracies, Mike Pence said.

  • Pence said attorneys told Trump that the VP had the authority to overturn the election.

  • In an NBC News interview, Pence declined to say whether Trump committed criminal acts following the election.

Mike Pence said Donald Trump dismissed his "capable" lawyers after the 2020 presidential election, instead favoring a "gaggle of lawyers who brought in conspiracy theories" as he made efforts to overturn the election.

The former vice president discussed the events leading up to the Capitol insurrection with Chuck Todd in an extensive "Meet the Press" interview that aired Sunday on NBC News.

"The President of the United States in that moment was receiving counsel from attorneys who were telling him, as the Bible says, 'what his itching ears wanted to hear.' He had, beginning in mid-November, dismissed some of the extraordinary and capable attorneys that were serving in the White House and serving in the campaign and replaced them with a gaggle of lawyers who brought in conspiracy theories and made promises that they never kept," Pence said.

Pence, who is said to be considering his own presidential bid, spent much of the interview touting his recently-published book, "So Help Me God," in which he discussed the insurrection.

"I write in the book about how it would be a year after that tragic day that one of those lawyers, Sidney Powell, actually said in a court filing that, 'No reasonable person would have assumed that what we were saying was factual.' Now she tells us," Pence said. "But the President was receiving terrible advice from people who not only shouldn't have been in the Oval Office, they shouldn't have been let on the White House grounds."

Donald Trump and Sidney Powell
Donald Trump and Sidney Powell  

Pence recalled that Trump's administration hit a "new low" when attorney Justin Clark told Trump in the Oval Office that lawsuits filed to challenge election results in different states were likely to be unsuccessful, at which point "Rudy Giuliani said over the speakerphone that, 'Your lawyers are not telling you the truth, Mr. President.'"

"Things got very heated," Pence said. "There was shouting, there was yelling. But in the aftermath of that meeting, the President made the decision to replace his capable campaign lawyers with this widening circle of outside attorneys, who ultimately led him to the conclusion that I had the authority to overturn the election, which was demonstrably and historically false."

However, Pence would not say whether Trump had committed criminal acts.

"I don't know if it is criminal to listen to bad advice from lawyers," said Pence, who noted earlier in the interview that if he had obeyed Trump, he "would have violated my oath to the Constitution."

In the interview, he dodged questions about Trump's fitness for office following the former president's announcement that he will seek reelection in 2024.


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